Friday, December 30, 2011

Yob - Atma

They'd have to change their name to Yob. 2011's Atma sounds like Black Sabbath tuned a bit lower and decided to play droning, long stoner metal riffs.

Stoner/Doom is the kind of music I usually find boring just because you can go all the way back to the mid-late '70s and still find tons of bands playing in this style. It's not exactly the most original music in the world, nor is it the most exhilarating by default. Oregon's Yob have been playing in this style for almost 15 years and I've never really given a shit for that reason. I've heard snippets from The Illusion Of Motion and some of their other releases, but this is the first time I've ever gone out of my way to procure some of their material.

And I'm not really disappointed. Not that excited either. Atma is fifty-five minutes of downtuned, fuzzy, drone-along guitars and scratchy, hard to place vocals. The vocals are actually my favorite part of the album and often switch between a high-pitched '70s doom style to a mid-ranged rasp. Vocalist Mike Scheidt even hits lows on the title track right before a sample of "his name is Atma" plays over some droning triplets. There's a few distorted cleans as well and not the annoying vocorder shit either.

"Before We Dreamed Of Two" is pretty cool. At least for the first half. As a sixteen minute song it's obviously got its moments, and the last six minutes drag like no other. They're slow, droning, almost ambient rock by this point and it serves as an intro to the next track "Upon the Sight of the Other Shore." The track features a solo and is probably the most dissonant on the album, which concludes with a melodic, noisy final track "Adrift in the Ocean" which is my favorite on the album. Each of the five songs on Atma is hit or miss though, and I often feel like sections of songs could be cut. The drone riffs aren't that special, nor are the doomy ones developed to the point that would make them unique. Is it worth a listen? Yes, but don't expect too much from these modern "legends." Atma is good at best.

7.0 out of 10


1. Prepare the Ground

2. Atma

3. Before We Dreamed of Two

4. Upon the Sight of the Other Shore

5. Adrift in the Ocean


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